By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Area Schools are defying the trend toward declining test results due to the COVID pandemic with some enviable SAT scores.

The SAT measures the skill levels of students in math, English, writing and language. Studies show that those with higher SAT scores are likely to perform better in college than those with lower scores.

Brighton Superintendent Matthew Outlaw says COVID has been hard on all school districts — especially with virtual, remote learning taking the place of in-classroom education. Outlaw calls the last few years “challenging"…while adding district staff and administration has “worked very hard to keep student learning at the forefront.”

Outlaw credits the effort and diligence of Brighton students and families for the favorable test scores, saying they were the “result of the hard work and dedication of (the district’s) students, staff and families.”

Statewide, there has been a 5.8% decline in the number of students that meet readiness standards in both math and English since the outbreak of COVID. County-wide in Livingston County, the decrease in readiness in these subjects has been even more alarming, at 8.3%. Worse yet, a comparison group, incorporating some of the top districts in the state academically — such as Northville, Birmingham, Ann Arbor and Novi - recorded an average 10.4% drop in test scores.

On the other hand, Brighton Area Schools increased their proficiency in those crucial subject areas by 1.4%. That’s not a great amount, but statistically significant when compared to the decline in other school districts’ scores.

Based on the 2016 state law that requires students to be held back if they are more than one grade level behind in reading, 5.8% of Michigan third graders were candidates for being retained in that grade due to low reading scores. Conversely, in the Brighton Area Schools, no students at all were in danger of being held back for that reason.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Elizabeth Mosher says the Brighton Area Schools “can achieve anything if (everyone concerned is) doing it intentionally and together.”

Pictured in the photo: Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Matthew Outlaw